Its only befitting to follow the last post that was on Mother’s Day with a recipe from my mom’s repertoire. In my last post, I did not mention how great a cook she is. I did not forget, but I did not for once want it to be about her cooking. But there is no doubt that she is an amazing cook.
My mom never cooked before marriage, and all that she learnt was after marriage. With a foodie for a husband and a few trusted Indian Tarla Dala books, and a willingness to always experiment new dishes, she became famous for her cooking. As a result my dad grew a truck tyre for a stomach and her children became gourmands (or well more aptly gluttons).
I have in the past shared her famous date cake recipe. Believe me when I say, this is one recipe you should always have with you. My sister-in-law made it recently for her friends and she said out of all the things she made, the date cake was the star. And she and I both get that every time we make it.
My mom’s homemade chocolate balls that she sent to my hostel are the reason why I was always in the good books of my hostel seniors. It’s only half true when they say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I think it holds for everyone.
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My friend’s daughter got very sick last week. She had to be admitted to the hospital and after four traumatizing days for my friend and her family she was finally released to come back home. She is still under observation but she is a trooper and fighting her way through her sickness with a smile.
Since the poor little girl went through so much, I decided to welcome her back home with cupcakes. I remember when I used to get sick as a child, I would crave for something sweet- anything to get rid of that bitter taste that medicines leave in your mouth.
I knew she loves funfetti, well which kid doesn’t? And, I had recently stumbled upon this recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction. They seemed the perfect amount of fun to greet a child with.
Sally uses a vanilla buttercream for the frosting and while I am sure that tasted absolute heaven, these days my latest frosting craze is the chocolate malt frosting (originally by Sweetapolita) I used for the five layer cake. And since I love the combination of vanilla with chocolate, you do get the best of both worlds, I paired these fun funfetti cupcakes with the chocolate malt frosting.
The cupcakes are great on their own, and fun to look at with colorful speckles all over the cupcake. So if you do not want the extra calories, skip the frosting and just make the cupcakes.
But, I’d rather you not.
Instead, I would suggest you have only one, or even half but make sure you have it with the frosting since it is so darn good. Since that’s how it is supposed to be. Because that’s what makes these divine. I can not say it enough, but treat yourself with this frosting now!
And, since these were being made for a kid in mind I made sure I topped each cupcake with a LOOOOT of frosting. <3
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Seriously this cake is jinxed.
This is the second time I am trying it and the second time I am getting it wrong.
Last time I dropped the whole cake halfway through the baking process, while I was trying to check on doneness. You can refresh your memory here. This time even before starting, I managed to drop the box of cornmeal on the floor. On the plus side, the box did not empty completely and some of the cornmeal did not spill onto the floor, leaving me with sufficient cornmeal to use in the cake. On the negative side, the cornmeal did make quite a mess on the floor.
If that was not enough, like last time I forgot that I was supposed to put the espresso water and cocoa after I divided the batter. I would like to blame the whole cleaning up of the corn meal from the floor process for my temporary absent mindedness, but I dont think it was just that. The cake is just jinxed.
Since it was too late to do anything I thought I will make a mocha chocolate swirl bread. So I added 4tsp of cocoa, 3 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of yogurt to one of the parts and baked it. It might not be like the original, but it did not turn that bad either. Anyway I will try again. Maybe third time’s the charm?
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So my schedule is going to be crazy busy the next 30 days. I will not have any access to the net on most days, and I will be hopping from one city to the other in the coming days, covering a total of 8 cities in 30 days.
While writing this post I am in Allahabad, the land of the famous Kumbh mela. Kumbh started on 14th Jan and will continue for the next 56 days. The festival got its name from the mythological “kumbh” or pitcher of nectar, over which gods and demons fought and which would give them immortality. Devotees smear ash on their body before taking a holy dip (shahi snan) in Sangam or the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati during the Kumbh Mela. Hindus believe that by doing so, one is freed from the sins committed in this lifetime and also attains freedom from the cycle of birth and death and rebirth.The first day shahi snan saw 82 lakh people taking a dip. The crowd on the main days is large enough to be visible from space satellites and if that still doesnt grab your attention then this would. The estimated number for the next shahi snan on 10th Feb is close to 3 crores! In fact certain Hollywood personalities are also expected to attend the Kumbh (the rumors include names of Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta Jones).
I then leave for Kolkata, the city of Joy and the once capital of India during the British rule, on 17th night, where two of my grad school friends are tying the knot with each other. After a brief 2 day stay at kolkata and hopefully a quick trip at Kookie Jar and Flurry’s, I fly to Lucknow, where my undergrad college friend is getting married. I swear I did not threaten everyone to get married while I am here in India. This is just by pure coincidence. From there I head to Agra, only as a transit visit while on my way to Jaipur.
After the fun filled days of wedding food, dressing up and quality time with friends, I will be observing Noble silence for ten days at the Vipassana Meditation Centre in Jaipur. Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion. It is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. The technique of Vipassana Meditation is taught at ten-day residential courses during which participants learn the basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results. There are no charges for the courses – not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to also benefit. I have wanted to do this for a long time now, ever since my B-school days where a friend told me about it. Since this time I am here for a substantial time in India, I decided to register for it and go ahead with it. The schedule is rigorous where one has to observe Noble silence- no talking at all, even through gestures for ten days! Will fill you in with my experience once I get back and have access to the internet.
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Ugh. I was so pissed off with myself yesterday. I was all set on making this loaf, and had all the necessary ingredients for it. I made the batter, and that’s where the first slip up happened. Instead of keeping the batter plain vanilla and then adding espresso and cocoa to the other half of the batter to get the marbled look, I added cocoa to the plain vanilla batter, and as a result spoiling the marble effect that the end loaf would have. Realizing my mistake, I let the batter be a little cocoa-ish and still divided the batter and added the espresso water to the other half. I managed to get a slight marble effect even if it wasn’t as distinct. The second slip up happened when, while baking I decided to check on the loaf. Since I was working with a new oven and my mom thought that the cake looked done, I took it out much before its baking time, and somehow managed to let the pan slip and fall on the ground batter side down (Murphy’s law at its best). I did scoop up the batter that was not touching the ground and baked it again. Of course the results are not spectacular. Or even close. I did add the glaze and somehow it is still edible. But the disaster has left me extremely irritated with my clumsy self.
Anyway. Coming to the recipe I am sharing today.
January 12th was my mom’s birthday. A woman who without a doubt is one of the nicest persons I know. And I do not say that because she is my mom. I know a lot of people who can vouch for her goodness. Committed to a fault to her work, even though she doesn’t get paid for it- it’s all volunteer work. Always there with a smile on her face. Amazing cook. Impeccable taste in interior decorating. Extremely creative and hard working. She is definitely the best in all that she does. And I love her a lot.
So of course for this special lady I had to make a cake on her birthday. On being asked, my mom requested for a fruit based cake and I decided that is what she will get.
I narrowed on a sponge layered cake with a strawberry filling. For the sponge cake I used a recipe from allrecipes.com, which had a high rating. Taking the advice of reviewers, I used almond extract and lemon juice in the recipe.
For the filling, I made homemade mascarpone cheese (since you don’t get commercially made here in Allahabad) and used it to make a cream filling based on the recipe here. In it I mixed some roasted strawberries, the recipe for which I adapted from here. Instead of using balsamic vinegar, I used wine and champagne oil that I had got from $250 chocoley Daring Bakers’ win.
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If you have been following me on Facebook, you know today is Day of my gluten free and sugar free diet. If you “like” me on Facebook, I am sorry for the frequent updates (unless, you like these updates then I take back my apology). The reason why I have suddenly become so active on the Novice Housewife’s Facebook page is that if I let everyone know what I am eating, I become accountable and if I am accountable, I am more responsible in the choices I make for my diet and more likely to stick to it. So please bear with me this month with my constant updates. Because I really need to see myself through this diet. It’s not been so difficult so far. Thank god for the internet, google search, pinterest and Foodgawker. Finding gluten free sugar free recipes and making a diet plan has been so much easy because of these.
And thanks to Pinterest I am able to share the recipe I have for you today. I pinned these from “In Sock Monkey Slippers” blog. These beauties have been sitting in my files for a very long time, waiting to be shared with you all. And I am sorry it has taken so long to get to you.
Thinly sliced potatoes cooked with a creamy garlic and thyme cheese and served as individual sized portions. Sign me up for these anytime. They are a little messy to make (the muffin pan requires some clean up but nothing a good soak in hot water and a little muscle power can’t take care of), but the effort is oh so worth it.
Without much further ado, here is the recipe.
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If you love chicken tikka, and you love pizza- this is totally your kind of Pizza.
I made it last week for V and me, using some leftover pizza dough I had and both of us really devoured it!
Now, V is not a pizza person. He is mostly a dal roti person, but for this pizza he changed his mind. He actually was sad when it got over and even though he knew there was no more pizza left he was talking about how he felt like having this pizza the next day. He still talks about it. And while writing this post, I wish I had some pizza dough so that I could make this again now.
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275 meters swimming, 16km bike riding over our hilly town and a 5K run.
Finally, completed my first triathlon!
Now, the embarrassing part- I was one of the lasts to finish.(*sheepish look*)
While my swimming and run timings were pretty decent, everyone dusted me off in the cycling round. Before you make fun do understand, for me, the cycling part was the toughest. I only started cycling a month and half back, after more than a decade of not getting on a cycle. And it was a real task for me to do uphill cycling, which was almost 50% of the entire route. One of the roads we biked on is actually called Mountain road (not even Hill road- its called mountain!). So it wasn’t easy for me. And that’s why it took me a lot of time. And the wind didn’t help either when climbing uphill on the cycle.
Anyway, the idea this time for my first triathlon was to complete it. Next time I’ll probably think of actually competing!
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If anyone is wondering what’s happening to my past post recipes and they look a little incomplete- you might be right in thinking so.
There is some problem with the easy recipe plugin I have and some of the text and all the pictures under the recipe part of my posts are somehow not showing on the site. The recipe are complete in my drafts, but on the site they do not appear complete.
Take the last post, for example. Spicy Buffalo Chicken Pizza. The recipe is incomplete. It’s there in my drafts- complete with all the instructions but it doesn’t show on the site. I am working with the plugin guys and hopefully this problem should be resolved soon. But in the meanwhile if you are planning to make anything from the blog and feel it is not complete, do let me know and I will mail you the recipe till all this gets sorted out!
Amidst all this confusion, I really wasn’t going to post today. But my friend has been bugging me to share this recipe I made over the weekend. A cherry tomato gratin.
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